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No more tethering

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By Optic Editorial Board

After a year, the city of Las Vegas is ready to mount a campaign of sorts — to get dogs off their leashes while still properly controlled. And so far, we like the approach the city is taking.

You may recall that in February 2012, in a push spearheaded by then-councilor Andrew Feldman, the city passed an anti-tethering ordinance. The law makes it illegal to tie up a canine outdoors unless the dog’s owner meets certain conditions, not the least of which is that someone must be outside and nearby when the dog is being tied up. In other words, no more tethering dogs for the day while you run off to work or play, or else you’ll face some increasingly severe consequences.

Knowing that compliance to the anti-tethering ordinance will be difficult for some owners, the city postponed enforcement for a year. Now, the city is reaching out to the Animal Welfare Coalition of Northeastern New Mexico to help educate people about the law and assist those with limited means in figuring out a way to keep their dogs at home without tethering.

According to Las Vegas Police Chief Christian Montaño, here’s how enforcement will take place: If the police department gets a call about a tethering violation between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. it will send a code enforcement officer to the scene. If reported after 6 p.m., someone will be dispatched the following morning. However, if someone reports animal cruelty after
hours, if its deemed necessary and officer may go to the scene immediately.

For a first violation, the dog’s owner will be given a warning. The second offense will be a $100 fine, while the third violation will cost $250. A fourth or subsequent violation can result in a $500 fine and/or jail time.

The city realizes that this law is a burden to those who own dogs but have no fence, or one that can’t sufficiently contain the dogs, or for some reason can’t or don’t want to keep their dogs inside. Still, the law’s a good one — to leave a dog constantly tethered (as can be seen around town) is a form of animal cruelty. It’s good we’re putting a stop to it.

Still, city officials are going out of their way to minimize the burden of compliance for dog owners. City employees even collected money for a fund to help people who can’t afford the steps necessary to comply with the law. It’s now time for dog owners to step up and do their part, or pay the price that comes with repeated violations.